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TUPELO, Miss. (AP) – BancorpSouth says profit fell in the first quarter as lower interest rates cut into its income.

The Tupelo, Miss., regional bank said Monday that profit fell to $20.8 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 31. That’s down about 9 percent from $22.9 million or 25 cent per share in the same three months of 2012.

Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted, 21 cents, on average.

BancorpSouth set aside $4 million for future loan losses, down from $10 million in the year-ago period. Costs from foreclosed property also fell.

The $13.4 billion bank says it set aside $6.8 million for possible litigation losses.

Loans kept falling, although BancorpSouth has made highly publicized efforts to increase lending, announcing a $500 million loan pool for Mississippi businesses.

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